The Reality of the Genesis Flood (Dr. Andrew Snelling)
June 17, 2018 Pastor: Dr. Andrew Snelling
Topic: Sunday Sermons
You don't need me to tell you that there is a war going on in our culture for the hearts and minds of our young people. If they haven't faced it already in the public schools, and thankfully many of our young people are trained in the home, they're going to face this battle when they go to college. You see, the secular world has by and large capitulated to the idea that the universe, the earth and life and everything came into existence as a result of natural processes. The earth, they say, came into existence 4 ½ billion years ago and the geologists are convinced that that's the true history of the world. So what, then, do Christians who are academics, scientists, do? Many of them have capitulated to the academics, capitulated to this view of the earth as being 4 ½ billion years old, and many of them have been convinced by the secular geologists that there is no evidence for the flood that the Bible speaks of in the book of Genesis. In fact, many Bible-believing, so-called Bible-believing evangelical geologists have towed the party line.
You know, it grieves me because, not because there's a disagreement but rather because they're trampling on the word of God. You see, to capitulate, they have to say that the Bible only describes a local flood in the region of Mesopotamia, in the region where Noah they think lived, and they completely ignore the clarity with which Scripture describes that event. You know, the tragedy is such compromisers prefer the applause and approval of the majority of academia and the secular scientific community. Now if we're going to make a stand against that, we need to make it for all the right reasons, of course, but you know, young people, I speak to you particularly because I had to make this choice years ago, was I going to accept applause and approval of man for 70 years or was I going to have the approval of God not only for the 70 years but also for eternity because, you see, we're talking about God's word here and God's word is very very clear about the teaching of the flood.
This morning we want to look at the reality of the Genesis flood. You know, the compromisers try to befuddle and make it unclear what God's word says but, no, the Bible is absolutely clear as we will see today in its description of the flood and its global extent. You know, as those who have been bought by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, the one who the Scriptures declare as the Creator of all things, we have to be clear on what God's word says and stand on what God's word says. No matter whether we have to choose to go against the tide, remember our pastor has been reminding us from the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus warned us that the way is narrow, few there be that find it. We have to be clear in our minds that though it's unpopular, we need to stand on God's word rather than on the opinions of men, the God-breathed Scriptures that have been given to us and clearly teach us that the flood was global.
So I want you to turn with me to Genesis 6 this morning and I want to go through a number of details very carefully with you so that you understand the clarity of Scripture on this issue. You know, the biblical account of the flood involves almost four chapters in the book of Genesis. By contrast, the creation account only covers two chapters, so more weight, more prominence is given to the account of the flood. Also we read in Genesis 6:17, turn with me there. I'm using the NASB here in my notes, but in Genesis 6:17, there is a unique Hebrew word that's used. The verse says,
17 Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood of water upon the earth,
The word there for "the flood" in the Hebrew is "mabbul," and it's only ever used in Genesis 6 and 7 and Genesis chapters 9, 10 and 11. For example, you go to the next chapter, Genesis 7:17, it says,
17 Then the flood came upon the earth for forty days,
The same Hebrew word "mabbul" is used there and it's only ever used of the Genesis flood. There is only one other place in the Old Testament where this Hebrew word "mabbul" is used, it's in Psalm 29:10 and I'll read it for you,
29 The LORD sat as King at the flood [mabbul, the flood]; Yes, the LORD sits as King forever."
It's the only other place in the Old Testament where that word is used so that means the Psalmist is definitely referring back to the Genesis flood. "The LORD sat as King at the flood," and I'll remind you of that a little later.
In the New Testament, Jesus and the Apostle Peter refer back to the flood several times. This is what disturbs me: these so-called Bible-believing evangelicals who have compromised on the book of Genesis, what do they do then when Jesus and the apostles speak so clearly about these events in Genesis? The tragedy is many of them say, "Well, Jesus just was speaking to accommodate the people of his time." In other words, Jesus wasn't necessarily speaking the truth. How can they then out of the other side of their mouths quote that Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life"? That's double-speak and we need to call them out on it.
Now Jesus and the Apostle Peter when they referred back to the flood, they had in view not only the present state of earth and man but also looking back at the past judgment by water, they were looking to the future judgment that would come by fire. Turn with me to Matthew 24 very quickly, Matthew 24 and in verse 38. Matthew 24:38-39 Jesus said these words,
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day [came] that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
Jesus was very clear that Noah was a real person, there was a real ark, and there was a real flood, and the flood came and took them all away. Not some, all away. Similar words are also recorded for us in Luke 17:26-27, a parallel passage.
The Apostle Peter refers to Noah and the flood several times in both of his epistles. Turn to 1 Peter 3 and there in verse 20, 1 Peter 3:20, Peter pens these words under the direction of the Holy Spirit,
20 who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water.
Turn over to the second epistle of Peter, chapter 2. 2 Peter 2 and remember, Peter had heard those words of Jesus that I referred to back there in Matthew 24. He heard those words. He heeded those words and he taught from those words and here we read in 2 Peter 2:5,
5 and [referring to God] did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;
Then in chapter 3, you're already in chapter 2, go over to chapter 3, verse 6 of 2 Peter 3, where in the course of Peter talking about the scoffers that will come in the last days, he says this, verse 6,
6 through which [speaking of water] the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water.
So the flood account records an extremely important event within the sweep of earth's history from creation back in Genesis 1 through consummation in the book of Revelation. You know, some of these compromisers says, "Oh, but, you know, the Genesis account reads like a ship's log and so everything was seen from Noah's perspective and recorded from Noah's perspective so when he said 'all the high hills,' he was only talking about the hills that he could see." Wrong. Read the account carefully. Moses wrote what God instructed him to write and it was from God's perspective. How do we know that? Because details are recorded that Noah could never have seen. Only God could see as the instigator and observer and the one in control of the whole flood event.
So let's be clear: the flood did really happen because God had it recorded for us for our instruction and therefore we need to heed what God wants to teach us this morning about the real history that Jesus and Peter testified to as a pivotal event in human history. So this morning I have four points for you. The first point, number 1 if you're taking notes: the purpose of the flood. The purpose of the flood. Why was a flood necessary? Well, let's go back to earlier chapters in Genesis and talk about the history and the growth and the condition of pre-flood humanity.
First of all, we notice when we read chapter 5, Genesis 5, the patriarchs lived long ages. Adam lived for 930 years, we read that in verse 5 of chapter 5 of Genesis,
5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
By the way, remember I need to add that because death comes to all men, "and he died." And Methuselah outlived Adam, he lived for 969 years, and we read in verse 27 of chapter 5,
27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.
Phew, fancy hanging around for 969, coping with teenagers and grandkids and great-grandkids and great-great-great-grandkids. By the way, Enoch got an early mark, he got translated to heaven at the relatively young age of only 365 years.
If we read Genesis 5, on average the patriarchs lived about 900 years. By the way, that was a long time in which to accumulate knowledge and to achieve things and it meant there was a population explosion. In fact, the population probably grew exponentially. You can do the math quite easily. In the 1,656 years from the time of creation through to the time of the flood using normal math calculations, you probably had arrived somewhere at about a billion or more people by the time of the flood. So it wasn't some trivial population that was living at the time of Noah.
Now, might you say, "Well, wait a minute. Hang on, how do you know that?" Well, in chapter 5, verse 4, apart from Cain, Abel and Seth, we read that Adam and Eve had many sons and daughters. Look it up, chapter 5, verse 4,
4 Then the days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters.
Remember, he lived for over 900 years so that's plenty of time to have lots of sons and daughters.
Well, that raises the obvious question, you know, if there was Adam and Eve and Cain and, well, there was Abel for a while and then there was Seth, but well, where did Cain get his wife from? You know, wherever we go around the world and I've spoken in a number of places, that is probably the most asked question. If there was only Cain, Abel and Seth and Adam and Eve, where did Cain get his wife from? Well, look at Genesis 4 and verses 16 and 17 and we read these words. Are you following with me? It's important that you see these for yourself in the Scriptures.
16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the LORD [this was after he sinned and murdered his brother Abel], and settled in the land of Nod, east of Eden. 17 Cain had relations with his wife and she conceived, and gave birth to Enoch;
So he did get married. Well, he obviously married his sister or maybe even his niece, but more likely his sister. "What a minute," you say, "aren't there laws about brothers marrying sisters and cousins marrying cousins?" Yes, there are today but back then, of course, when Adam and Eve were created by the hand of God, they had perfect genetics and a brother marrying his sister was still one man for woman for life according to God's ordained plan for marriage. It wasn't until after the fall and the curse that genetic disorders, genetic mistakes start to accumulate, so much so that it wasn't until the time of Moses we read in Leviticus 18:6-18, I won't go there but just jot that down and check it for yourself later, but by the time of Moses, that's when God gave the laws against brothers marrying sisters or close relatives. Why? Because by that time, the genetic disorders had increased as a result of generation after generation. So you see, we need to be careful when we look at the Scriptures when people put up these arguments as to why the Scriptures can't be trusted. If we follow the logic through these arguments, we can see that God's word records for us true history and that we can trust it.
There is also if you read these early chapters, there was an explosion in knowledge. Remember I said they lived on average 900 years, so there was plenty of time to accumulate skills and wisdom and knowledge and we read, for example, of Cain, verses 2 and 3 of chapter 4,
2 … but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the LORD of the fruit of the ground.
Cain planted crops and they had orchards harvesting fruit which, after all, was what they were given to eat, remember in Genesis 1, they were to eat of the plants, the fruits, the vegetables, they hadn't been given permission to eat meat. No, man and the animals were only supposed to eat plants.
But then we also read that Abel tended flocks, chapter 4, verses 2 and 4,
2 … And Abel was a keeper of flocks... 4 Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions.
So they kept flocks. Why? For wool, for milk.
Then we go on in chapter 4 and we read that Jabal in verse 20,
20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who dwell in tents and have livestock.
So he was a herdsman and shepherd.
We also read in Genesis 4:17 that Cain when he left and went to the land of Nod,
17 … he built a city, and called the name of the city Enoch, after the name of his son.
Then we read about Jabal's brother, Jubal in chapter 4, verse 21,
21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all those who play the lyre and pipe.
In other words, they had musical instruments. That presupposes that they had the ability to write music. Well, of course they did. They lived for such long times, they had better genetics than you and I, they had the mental capacity to learn and pass on their knowledge to their children and their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren that lived through their lifespans.
Then we read in chapter 4, verse 22, about Tubal-cain,
22 As for Zillah, she also gave birth to Tubal-cain, the forger of all implements of bronze and iron;
Back in chapter 2 of Genesis we also read about gold and gems. So by the time of the flood, they had the technology to mine, they had to have the ability to find these metals in the rocks, to mine them and then to smelt them to extract the copper and the tin and the iron to build the musical instruments.
So by the time of the flood, we're talking about an advanced society. They weren't some primitive savages with stone tools on their way up, actually they were on their way down because the sad thing is we read that in spite of all their knowledge, in spite of all their technology, doesn't it sound like today, they became more and more immoral. They were more and more content in their ability rather than trusting in the God who had given them the technology and the minds to use that technology.
So we read in chapter 4, verse 22 about Lamech. He had two wives so he had already disobeyed God's command for one wife. He had two wives and we read in verse 23,
23 Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, Listen to my voice, You wives of Lamech, Give heed to my speech, For I have killed a man for wounding me; And a boy for striking me;
He was boasting that he had avenged himself by murdering a man and a boy. I mean, a boy had just happened to strike him and he murdered him without cause, and yet he was boasting of what he had just done. You know, the tragedy is by the time we get to chapter 6 of Genesis in the prelude to God speaking to Noah, we read these words in chapter 6, verses 5 and 6,
5 Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.
You know, we think that the world around us, the culture around us today is bad, but imagine every thought and every intent of thought was only evil continually, so much so that it caused God to repent and be sorry that he created man. In fact, going on in chapter 6, we come to verses 11 and 12 and this is God's assessment of the world in which Noah lived. Verses 11 and 12 of chapter 6,
11 Now the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence. 12 God looked on the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth.
And by the way, it is clear from what is to come that it was not only man that had corrupted his way but the animals had too, and we see these dinosaurs such as a T-Rex with those long sharp teeth that were originally used for chomping on watermelons were now ripping other animals apart. That's the picture we have of the world becoming full of violence: animals ripping one another apart; Lamech boasting about avenging someone just tapping him, a boy, just striking him and he murders him.
So what did God do? He determined that he would send the mabbul, the flood. And what was the purpose? To destroy man, the animals and the earth itself. That little bit, that little phrase, those compromisers fail to heed, fail to notice. Let's look at this carefully. Chapter 6 of Genesis, verse 7 to begin with.
7 The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."
Then moving down to verse 13. Are you tracking with me? Genesis 6:13,
13 Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth."
Then in verse 17 of Genesis 6,
17 "Behold, I, even I am bringing the flood [mabbul] of water upon the earth, to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life, from under heaven; everything that is on the earth shall perish."
So you see, the purpose of the flood was to destroy a corrupt human population, a corrupt human culture, the corruption and violence in the animal kingdom. Why would God go to that extent if it wasn't for the wickedness and the depravity of the human heart? That's why it's important that we emphasize that they had built themselves quite a technology. They had incredible knowledge. You know, we boast ourselves with pride as to the knowledge and the technology that we have and what has it achieved? Self-sufficiency. Arrogance towards God. Magnify that a hundredfold and you get a picture of what it was like in the pre-flood world. Man lived such long ages, he had plenty of time to get up to evil and that's why God's assessment was that it was only evil continually.
So that's the first point. The purpose of the flood was to destroy a corrupt humanity and it required not only a destruction of man, animals, but the earth itself, which leads to our second point, point 2: the scale of the flood or the extent of the flood. This comes to the heart of the matter with our compromising brethren who want to tell us that it was only a local event. Well, there are a number of reasons, so many that this will take a little time, but jot these things down as we go through them because together they provide a powerful apologetic in defense of God's word here.
First of all, God commanded Noah to build the ark with specific specifications. Look at that in chapter 6, verses 14 to 16. Genesis 6:14-16,
14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. 16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
So the ark is described as being 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high. What is a cubit? Well, many of you will know that the cubit in the ancient world was a measure from the fingertip of a man to the tip of his elbow. Now of course, obviously men grow to different heights and therefore they have different lengths of arms and so there had to be some standardization of these measures, just as we have standards in the present world. So if you look back at the ancient world and the records, there are a number of cubits that were being used at that time. Well, depending on which cubit we use and isn't it logical to think in terms of Moses, of course, was raised in the court of Pharaoh so obviously he would have been schooled to use the Egyptian royal cubit, which happens to be very similar to the Hebrew long cubit, which is around 20.5 inches. So if we use that as a measure, the ark would have been about 510 feet long, about 85 feet wide, and 50 feet high. That's as tall as a five storey building or more, and of course, we read it was to have three decks, a window and one door. By the way, it should be noted in spite of what the skeptics and detractors say, that that dimension, those dimensions 510 feet by 85 feet by 50 feet, the length to width ratio is perfect for stability in rough seas and that has actually been tested by shipbuilders. A group of South Koreans got together and tested a model of the ark with those dimensions and showed categorically that it was the perfect length to width ratio for stability in rough seas. Well, of course. God is the master designer. He knew exactly what was coming and so instructed Noah exactly what to build.
So that raises the question: why would God tell Noah to build a huge ocean-going vessel simply to ride out a local or regional flood? It makes no sense. If it was only a local or regional flood, it would have been easier for God to say to Noah, "Pack up your belongings, move up out of that valley and go over the hills to some other place. You'll be safe from the flood that's coming." No, God knew it was going to be a global flood and therefore there had to be a vessel built to preserve Noah, his family, and the animals while everything else was going to be wiped out, which leads to the second point. The purpose of the ark, subpoint, the purpose of the ark was to save representatives of all land-dwelling, air-breathing animals and birds. Why? Well, God was going to destroy all flesh outside the ark and therefore just as Noah had his family on the ark, there had to be animals on the ark that would come off the ark to repopulate the world after the flood and that's what we read. God told Noah he would take aboard the ark two of every kind of land-dwelling, air-breathing creature and enough food to feed them and his family. We read of that in chapter 6, 19 through 22,
19 And of every living thing of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, and of the animals after their kind, of every creeping thing of the ground after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive. 21 As for you, take for yourself some of all food which is edible, and gather it to yourself; and it shall be for food for you and for them.
Note also in chapter 7, verses 2 and 3, that there were more than a pair of the clean kinds and of the birds to be taken on-board the ark, and there's a little bit of dispute here in the translation. In the NASB, it refers to seven, in the ESV it refers to seven pairs. Here's what we read in Genesis 7:2-3,
2 You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; 3 also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth.
As I said, in the ESV it refers to seven pairs. We'll come back to the reason for that later on. By the way, notice that God doesn't mention sea creatures to be taken on-board the ark. You know, the skeptics love to say, "Well, how could he fit a whale on the ark?" Well, there was no need for that because it was going to be a flood of waters. The water is a natural habitat for a whale so it didn't have to go on-board the ark, it could survive happily outside.
Why take all those creatures and food to feed them on the ark if it was only going to be a local or regional event? After all we know, for example, animals will know before humans if an earthquake is coming. Do you know they actually sense an earthquake and they flee before the earthquake actually strikes? Animals have an innate sense to be able to escape from danger and so if it was only a local flood, all they had to do was escape somewhere else to avoid perishing.
Note also the mention of the birds. It's mentioned seven times, the birds. Verse 7 of chapter 6, "the birds of the sky." Chapter 6, verse 20, "the birds after their kind." Chapter 7, verse 3, "of the birds of the sky." Verse 8 of chapter 7, "and birds." Verse 14 of chapter 7, "every bird after its kind." Chapter 7, verse 21, "all flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle." Verse 23 of chapter 7, "thus he blotted out every living thing and to the birds of the sky." I mean, why would Noah need to take birds on-board the ark if it was only a local or regional flood? After all, birds could easily fly away over the mountain to some other place to get rest and food.
No, the only way to explain why Noah had to take birds on the ark was because it was going to be a global flood. There would be nowhere for the birds to rest, no trees, no land to put their foot down on, and there would be no food for them to eat so they needed to be preserved with the other animals in the ark. By the way, if it's mentioned seven times, don't you think the Holy Spirit was trying to make the point? And as we said a moment ago, the third reason it was global was because the purpose was to destroy or blot out, the word "blot out," blot out means "to totally wipe away; totally annihilate," all mankind and all animals and birds not on the ark. We read that in Genesis 6:7,
7 The LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them."
And verse 13,
13 Then God said to Noah, "The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth."
How else was God going to accomplish his purpose of destroying all life on the earth and destroying the earth itself unless it was going to be a global flood?
By the way, how many animals had to go aboard the ark and how did they fit on the ark? That's a common question we get asked. Well, notice in the text it doesn't refer to species, that's a modern classification of the animals. No, it refers to "kinds." God refers to the creatures who reproduced after their kind in Genesis 1, and by the way, we can get a zorse and a zonkey because a zebra will mate with a horse or mate with a donkey. Even though they're classified as different species, they're part of the horse kind. Lions and tigers can interbreed. They are given different species names but they're part of the cat kind. So if you look at the animal kingdom and work out which animals breed with which animals and therefore they belong to the same family or kind, you calculate about 1,400 kinds of land-dwelling air-breathing animals and birds, keeping in mind that there were seven pairs of some, the clean ones, you're only talking about 4,000-6,000 animals going on the ark. By the way, knowing the size of the ark and doing the math knowing that these animals were probably less than the size of a sheep, much less on average, then they would have only fitted on one deck and there were three decks. Plenty of room for all the food and water etc. to carry them.
Then, of course, the next reason, reason number 4 is Jesus, whom we quoted earlier, compared the flood of Noah to the coming of the Son of Man. I like to point this out to the compromisers. Is Jesus' second coming going to be global? Well, Jesus said, "For as in the days of Noah," Matthew 24:38-39 that we read earlier,
38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be.
That's why Peter picks this up in 2 Peter 3 that we read, 2 Peter 3:5-7. Peter not only compares the scope of the flood with a judgment to come, he also compares the scope of the flood with the creation. The creation. He says this,
5 For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water [referring back to the creation which was global], 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded [deluged] with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
The word there in the Greek, in the NASB in 2 Peter 3 it's translated "flooded." In the ESV it's translated "deluge." In the original Greek it's the word "kataklyzmos" from which we get our English word "cataclysm." Peter said the world that existed overflowed with water in a watery cataclysm. "Overflowed" is the word that's used and translated in the King James version. Then the use of that Hebrew word "mabbul" that I referred to earlier exclusively for the flood of Noah's day, speaks of its uniqueness, totally different in scope unlike any local or regional flood. So it signifies it had to be a global flood.
Then there are the two sources of water for the flood. Look over at chapter 7, Genesis 7:11 as I read it. Two sources of water for the flood.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.
So there is reference to the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep and the opening of the windows of heaven, or the floodgates of the sky depending on your translation. Such unique sources are totally out of place and unnecessary for merely a local or regional flood. "The deep," of course, refers to the deep ocean and even deeper inside the earth. So when the fountains burst forth from the ocean floors around the globe, hot volcanic waters and hot material, lavas, we've seen a lot of that recently if you watch the news about what's happening in Hawaii, that's a different type of volcanic eruption. Mostly what comes out of volcanoes is more than 70% water in the form of steam, and by the way, the scientists now know from studying material that's come up from deep inside the earth that even today there are 10 times more water still inside the earth than in all the earth's oceans. Even today there is adequate water still inside the earth to burst forth and totally inundate the globe.
Then the next reason that it was a global flood, we read in Genesis 7:19-20 these words in the NASB,
19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen cubits higher, and the mountains were covered.
Or as the ESV translates,
19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep.
Do you think the Holy Spirit is trying to make the point? All. Everywhere. Whole heavens.
Then there was the depth of the floodwaters, the mention here of 15 cubits or 25 feet above the highest pre-flood mountains. "Oh no, it's not referring to Mount Everest here." You'll have skeptics that will say, "Well, how could the waters have covered Mount Everest?" They forget that Mount Everest is made up of fossil-bearing rocks that were produced by the flood. Mount Everest didn't exist before the flood.
What's this depth of 15 cubits? It's the depth which the ark sank into the waters, 25 feet. It's the displacement, the water displacement of a full ark. In other words, God is saying here in the account that the minimum coverage was so that the ark could float freely across the surface of the earth over all the high mountains, pre-flood mountains.
And by the way, the next reason there was a global flood, what local flood lasts for 371 days from start to finish? In chapter 7, verse 11, the flood began, we read, "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month." Then we turn over to chapter 8, verses 13 and 14 just before God gave Noah the command to come out of the ark,
13 Now it came about in the six hundred and first year, in the first month... 14 In the second month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, the earth was dry.
So it had to be a global flood to last that long. By the way, that unique Hebrew word "mabbul" for the flood is only linked to the 40 days and 40 nights of global torrential rainfall when the floodgates or windows of heaven were opened. In chapter 7, verse 4, God says,
4 "For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights..." 10 It came about after the seven days, that the water of the flood came upon the earth... 12 The rain fell upon the earth for forty days and forty nights... 17 Then the flood [the mabbul] came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth.
Forty days and nights of torrential global rainfall. My, oh my, today it only takes four days of torrential rain in a region to produce devastating local floods so imagine 40 days and 40 nights of torrential rain all around the globe. By the way, remember that water flows down hills so if the water rises to cover the mountains in one location, what's going to happen? It's going to spill over into the valleys. It's going to keep rising again until it covers that mount, spills over into the valleys, over the next hill. If it's going to cover one hill, it's going to cover all hills that's why the description is "all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered." Everywhere. That's why I pointed out earlier the mistake of the compromisers who are only looking and saying, "Oh, it was only the hills that Noah could see that were covered." No, God's perspective is that all the high hills under the whole of the heaven were covered. He alone could see all the high hills under the whole heaven. Noah couldn't and that's why we know this account was written from God's perspective.
But not only that happened, what do we read? After the 40 days, the waters continued to prevail. Verse 24 of chapter 7,
24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.
One hundred and fifty days, five months, and then it took another 221 days for the waters to recede and the earth to dry out. What kind of a local flood prevails to cover high mountains for 150 days, five months, and then take another 221 days, more than seven months, for the waters to recede and the ground dry out?
Then we notice in chapter 8, verse 4, that the ark landed on a mountain, not in a valley. What does it say?
4 In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.
If the flood had been a local event in the Mesopotamia valley region as many compromisers will tell you, what would have happened? Imagine the Mesopotamian basin, where is the water going to drain to? Out to the Persian Gulf. So if the ark was only in a local flood in that region, it would have ended up out in the Persian Gulf, not up in the mountains of Ararat, the opposite direction. Do you see how clearly we have to discern what the Scriptures are saying here? By the way, it says "the mountains" of Ararat. Many people make the mistake of saying Mount Ararat. No, Mount Ararat is a modern volcano. The last eruption was 1840. If the ark landed on Mount Ararat, it would have been covered in hot lava and burned up even before Noah and the animals got off the ark. Ararat was a region or Eratu in the ancient world and so it describes mountains in the region of Eratu.
And even after the ark landed on the mountains of Ararat, it took another 74 days for the other mountains around to become visible. We read that in chapter 8, verse 5,
5 The water decreased steadily until the tenth month; in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, the tops of the mountains became visible.
The next reason is: why would it be necessary for post-flood human repopulation of the earth if it was only a local flood? Now if it was only a local flood, wouldn't the people outside the flooded region be able to repopulate the earth? And in fact, God said to Noah, chapter 9, verse 1,
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth."
The command was given to Noah and his sons. Then in verses 18 and 19 of Genesis 9,
18 Now the sons of Noah who came out of the ark were Shem and Ham and Japheth; and Ham was the father of Canaan. 19 These three were the sons of Noah, and from these the whole earth was populated.
Can it be any clearer what the Scriptures are saying here? You and I are descended from Noah and his family. All of us.
Then there was the mandate to the animals. The mandate to the animals was also to spread out, to refill and repopulate the earth. Why would that have been necessary if it was just a local flood? The animals that lived in the other regions could easily have repopulated the flooded region after it went.
Then we read in Genesis 9 of the rainbow covenant. The rainbow covenant. Verses 11 and 15 in Genesis 9,
11 "I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth." 12 God said, "This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. 14 It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, 15 and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh.
By the way, if it was a local flood, then God's broken his promise many times, hasn't he? We've seen lots of local floods since the time of Noah, what haven't we seen? A global flood. So this covenant, this promise of the rainbow signifies it was a global flood.
Then finally, after the flood we read that God instituted capital punishment. Chapter 9, verse 6,
6 "Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man."
Now it makes no sense if this was only to apply to Noah and his family when they got off the ark, what about all the other people that weren't affected by this local flood? Were they not under this command of capital punishment? No, this was a universal command. Whoever sheds man's blood, his blood will be shed. So a universal command on all mankind requires a universal global flood.
Well, very quickly, point 3: the outcomes of the flood. The outcomes of the flood. First of all, we already have covered this: all mankind and all land-dwelling animals and plants outside the ark were destroyed and the earth's surface was totally destroyed and reshaped. We read about that in Genesis 7:21-23.
21 All flesh that moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark.
How more plainly does God have to speak for us to get the point? All. Every. That's why I put the emphasis on those words.
So think about it, as I said to the young people on Friday night, if the flood really occurred as we've just described, wouldn't you and I expect to find billions of dead plants and animals buried in sand and mud that had been eroded and transported and laid down rapidly by moving water, that had hardened to rocks and fossils in layers on every continent in all the mountains around the earth? Well, of course we would and that's exactly what we find, billions of fossils of delicately preserved animals and plants that had to be rapidly buried en masse to be preserved so well in sediment layers that had been deposited rapidly by water around the globe, layers that we can trace right across continents and between continents. Even at the top of Mount Everest we find marine fossils buried. And as the waters moved rapidly off the earth, wouldn't you expect them to carve out valleys and canyons? And that's exactly what we see. The earth's surface was totally destroyed and totally resurfaced. These fossil-bearing layers which are the testament to the flood, cover more than two-thirds of the earth's surface. Don't you think God wants to give us the point that there was a catastrophic global flood? By the way, corollary to that is that the conventional wisdom is that it took over 500 million years to lay down all those fossil layers but the flood only required one year, so that automatically rules out 500 supposed million years of conventional time.
By the way, was God unjust to exterminate millions of people and billions and trillions of creatures? That's a question we often get asked, "How could a loving God bring that destruction on the earth? You know, all those children, innocent children?" Well, first and foremost, what can we say? We as the creatures have no right to question the Almighty Creator who created us. Remember Job? He suffered. Job pleads for an answer, God never told Job the answer. We know the answer because we're given an insight into what was happening but Job never knew why he suffered. What did God say to Job? He pointed Job to his unlimited power and his infinite knowledge as the Creator.
And second, yes, God was absolutely just and justified in exterminating what he had created just as a potter has the right to discard the marred clay on his wheel and start again. The imagery there, of course, is in the Old Testament. After all, mankind had become totally corrupt and was full of violence. In fact, left to itself, pre-flood humanity could've obliterated one another with murder and violence, the animals could have killed one another, in a sense, it was a merciful act of God to preserve man and animals through the flood.
Furthermore, God had said a warning. That's right, he'd announced the flood judgment well ahead of its coming by providing Noah as a witness. Didn't we read in 2 Peter 2:5 earlier about God "preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness." That's right, Noah was there to provide a warning. Noah was 500 years old when his sons were born. We read that in Genesis 5:32. By the time God commanded Noah to build the ark, it would appear that Shem, Ham and Japheth were married because God said, "I will establish," in verse 18 of chapter 6,
18 ... I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark--you and your sons and your wife, and your sons' wives with you.
Then the flood began when Noah was 600 years old. So depending how long it took for Shem, Ham and Japheth to grow up and get married, let's say 25-30 years or maybe 50 years, the flood comes 100 years after they were born, so that means that there was probably 50-75 years warning that the flood was coming, plenty of time for them to build the ark, to hire labor to help them to build the ark. So there was ample time for people to heed the warning of Noah as the preacher of righteousness so that people had the opportunity to repent.
So out with the notion that God was unjust. God had sent a warning, he'd sent a preacher of righteousness. They had the opportunity and think about it, the ark was big enough, wasn't it? All the animals on one deck? Two decks for plenty of people to get on-board with Noah and his family. If they had heeded the warning, there was plenty of opportunity for them to go on-board the ark as well, but God knew that such was the evil of man's heart that only Noah and his family would choose.
Then we read that the world changed as a result of the flood. You see, we shouldn't take what we observe in the present world and project it back to the pre-flood world. Why? Well, we're told in Genesis 8:22,
22 "While the earth remains, Seedtime and harvest, And cold and heat, And summer and winter, And day and night Shall not cease."
Now that's not to say they weren't seasons before the flood because, after all, we read in Genesis 1 that the sun, moon and stars were given for signs and for seasons. No, what Genesis 8:22 is teaching us is that as a result of the flood we now have the summer and winter, the seedtime and harvest, the cold and heat, the day and night cycle that we enjoy that is God's provision for our work, our rest, and all that we enjoy in the world around us.
By the way, we also read at this point that Noah had built an altar just two verses previously. Verse 20,
20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and took of every clean animal and of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
That's probably why, more likely the reason why God told Noah to take seven pairs of clean animals and birds on the ark. If he only took a pair of clean birds and a pair of clean animals and sacrificed one of them, they wouldn't have been able to repopulate the world. So God already knew providing for Noah not only extra clean animals and birds for the sacrifice, but also breeding stock. The clean animals were the domesticated animals so they would be available for the herds and the flocks that would result from Ham, Shem and Japheth.
Then another outcome of the flood: there would be a changed relationship between mankind and the animals so that mankind's dominion and stewardship was different. What do we read? And man, of course, was now given permission, specific permission to eat meat. We read about this in Genesis 9:1-4.
1 And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. 2 The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. 3 Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. 4 Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood."
In fact, God gave a warning. Remember we said that? Capital punishment was instigated as a result of murder. And then we said, of course, about the rainbow covenant. By the way, does that imply that there was no rainbow in the sky before the flood? No, it doesn't. Was there bread and wine before Jesus instituted the communion feast? Absolutely. There was rain because there was also a mist that went up to water the ground in the pre-flood world. Mist implies light shining through it to produce a rainbow. There were rainbows in the pre-flood world. No, God took something that was already familiar to Noah and gave it new meaning as the sign of his covenant, just as Jesus took bread and wine and said, "Eat of this and drink of this in remembrance of Me."
Well finally and very briefly: the lessons of the flood. The lessons of the flood. 1. God hates sin and must judge it. We read about that in chapter 6, verse 5 and 7. God had seen the wickedness of man great on the earth and he repented. He was sorry. Verse 13 of chapter 6, the end of all flesh. The earth is filled with violence. I'm about to destroy them with the earth. Verse 17, chapter 6, everything that is on the earth shall perish. God had to judge. In the book of Habakkuk we read the prophet says, chapter 1, verses 12 and 13,
12 Are You not from everlasting, O LORD, my God, my Holy One?... 13 Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.
No, God had to judge. He hates sin. His holiness cannot tolerate it. Isaiah the prophet says,
6 For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; And all of us wither like a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
And Paul in Romans 3, his assessment is this,
10 as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one;
No, man is altogether sinful and God must judge because he hates sin. You know, the tragedy is that men will always fail. Think about Noah. What happened to Noah after the flood? Even righteous Noah failed. We read in chapter 9, verses 20 and 21, that he planted a vineyard, he got drunk and lay around naked. So even righteous Noah failed in God's sight.
Then we read later, you know, you would think that Ham, Shem and Japheth's descendants would realize what would happen if they rebelled against God. They had the memory of the flood but what happened? They congregated at Babel on the plain of Shinar and they conspired to build a city and a tower. Why? Genesis 11:4,
4 … let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the earth.
They deliberately disobeyed God because God had commanded them to spread out. Instead they congregated. So even after the judgment of the flood and the lesson they should have learned, they failed and yet God is gracious and merciful, the next lesson. What do we read? Genesis 6:6,
6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart... 8 But Noah found favor [or grace] in the eyes of the LORD. 9 … Noah walked with God.
God in his grace and mercy singled out righteous Noah for the provision of escape through this flood. Ephesians 2:8-9 remind us,
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.
And Peter, 2 Peter 3, the Apostle Peter reminds us, verse 9,
9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
You know, the pivotal verse in the flood account is chapter 8, verse 1 and it says,
1 But God remembered Noah
By the way, that doesn't imply that God had forgotten Noah, not at all, but it reminds us that God never forgets. He remembers us. He cares for his people.
Furthermore, God is always sovereignly in control and this is demonstrated in the flood. Why? First of all, God chose Noah, his wife, his sons and his sons' wives, and he made a covenant with them, Genesis 6:18. Now we're only told that Noah was righteous and found favor in God's eyes, grace, yet God in his mercy and grace also chose Noah's wife, his sons and their wives. We're not told whether they were warranted God's mercy.
Then, of course, God was in control when he commanded Noah to build the ark, and God was in control when God brought the animals to Noah to take aboard the ark. Did you realize that? Noah didn't have to go out and chase all the animals and collect them all to coerce them to come on the ark. What does it say in Genesis 6:20?
20 ... two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.
Chapter 7, verse 9, speaking of the birds and the animals,
9 there went into the ark to Noah by twos
They went in under God's direction and that's repeated in Genesis 7:14-16. So they went into the ark to Noah.
Then we read God is in control, it was God that closed the door. Noah didn't close the door, God closed the door. Genesis 7:16,
16 Those that entered, male and female of all flesh, entered as God had commanded him; and the LORD closed it behind him.
Then what happened? The fountains of the great deep broke up, the windows of heaven were opened exactly at God's command. He was in total control. Why? In Genesis 7:11 we read,
11 … on the same day
God is very specific that everything happen on the day that he ordained. He would shut the door, Noah and the animals would go aboard, he would shut the door, the fountains would open, and the windows would open.
Furthermore, when they had achieved their purpose, we read that God closed the windows of heaven and he closed the fountains. And then God was in control when he was the one that told Noah when to come off the ark. Noah couldn't tell if all the ground was dry. He was stuck in the ark. How could he see beyond the horizon and know whether it was dry over there? No, we read that God said to Noah, "It's time now. Go out of the ark." Chapter 8, verse 14 and 15, "Go out of the ark, you and your wife and your sons' wives with you."
Furthermore, we need to remind ourselves that there was only one way to escape the flood judgment. There was only one ark, entered through one door, which God alone closed. You see, there was only one way to escape the final judgment also. Now, Noah found grace in God's eyes. God commanded him to enter the ark through the one door and Jesus made this comment in John 10:7-9, speaking of the shepherd with the sheep.
7 So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.
We're reminded in Acts 4:12,
12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
You see, God required obedience from Noah. What if Noah had been stubborn? He'd been given the commands by God, what do we read? Genesis 6:22,
22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.
Repeated in Genesis 7:5,
5 Noah did according to all that the LORD had commanded him.
18 So Noah went out,
So Noah was obedient. We have had ample warning. We read those words earlier, Matthew 24, what did Jesus say there? I'll read it again, Matthew 24:36-39, speaking of his second coming he says this,
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. 37 For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so will the coming of the Son of Man be."
Similarly, the Apostle Peter warns us with these sober words, 2 Peter 3, speaking again of the flood, verse 6,
6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men... 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
Friends, as we close this morning, I want to challenge you: are you ready? Just as Noah had to obey, just as Noah had to go through that door to salvation in the ark, the reality the Genesis flood teaches us that God means business and he keeps his word. He's warned us that there is a judgment to come. He's provided the door, Jesus, our Savior. Are you ready? If you're not, please don't delay. Repent and turn to Christ today. Christ is the only door to the eternal salvation that he freely offers to us because he died to provide it for us. I challenge you: are you ready? Make sure you are this day.
Let's bow for a word of prayer.
Father, what can we say after reading your word today and learning from it? Thank you that you mean business. You keep your word unlike men who fail us. You never fail. You've warned us that there is judgment to come and yet in your grace and love and mercy you have provided a way of escape just as you provided for Noah and his family and the animals that went on-board that ark. Father, we pray that we would heed the warning today and learn the lessons from your word. We pray that each would be settled in our hearts this day that we are indeed safe aboard the ark of salvation that you've provided in the Lord Jesus Christ and it's in his name that we pray. Amen.